Intelligence: Dong Ma?


July 15, 2008: Mindful of the problems encountered because of a lack of Arabic, Dari and Pushtun and Farsi (the latter three languages spoken in Afghanistan) linguists after September 11, 2001, the U.S. Department of Defense is working to expand the number of uniformed Chinese speakers it has. Currently, there are about 6,000 troops with some knowledge of Chinese, but only about 15 percent of those are fluent. The plan is to offer incentives (like extra pay and better chances of promotion) to increase Chinese language skills, as well as more training material and instructors for those who want to learn Chinese, or improve existing skills.

While the military can hire Chinese civilian linguists in an emergency, having uniformed linguists takes care of security clearance problems, and assures you of having people who know military terminology and practice.



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